Friday, June 30, 2017

Who Do You Love

Who do you love?

TigerBlog had his car radio on the other day, and that was the first song that came on.

As TB listened, he wondered if when Bo Diddley wrote the song way back in 1956, he knew/cared/considered that he was using the wrong case. It should be "whom do you love?"

Maybe there was a conversation that went like this:

"Hey, you know that it should be 'whom' in your new song?"
"Yeah. Of course. It should be objective case. It's the direct object. But nominative case sounds better, don't you think?"

Ah, the things that go through one's mind on long drives. TB was on Interstate 91, on his way back from New Hampshire, and he heard the song on a station in Springfield, Mass. It called itself "Springfield's Oldies."

The version that TigerBlog heard was not Bo's original one. It was a remake by George Thorogood, which he released in 1979.

How in the world can that version be an "oldie?" That's classic rock, Springfield. It's from 1979.

Then TB heard a bunch of other songs on that station that all would be considered classic rock. They couldn't be oldies, because they were from when TB was already in middle school or high school, and if they're oldies, well, then that would make TigerBlog, uh, hmmm.

Anyway, who do you love? Or, whom do you love?

If you're a Princeton fan, odds are good you love Chris Young.

TigerBlog has said this before. The most universally beloved Princeton athlete of the last 20 or so years is Chris Young.

There have certainly been others. There are a lot of athletes around here who are easy to like.

Young had it all, though. He played basketball and baseball. He was a superstar in both from Day 1. He was tall. He was approachable. He was great around little kids (including a certain then-little kid named TigerBlog Jr., whom Young once lifted up on so he could dunk on the side court of Jadwin).

Not one person who ever came in contact with him ever had anything bad to say about him.

And of course, there was the element of "what-if" for Young. As in, what if he had been born a week or two later and not been eligible for the baseball draft after his sophomore year at Princeton. As in, what if he had played three or four years of basketball. As in, what if he had gone to the NBA instead of Major League Baseball.

Sticking with the four-years of basketball theme, TB thinks Young would have finished his career first or second at Princeton in scoring, rebounds, assists and blocks. He would have joined Bill Bradley as the only players in school history to reach 2,000 points.

Instead, Young was drafted by the Pirates in the 2000 baseball draft, after his sophomore year. He was eligible only because he'd turned 21 by June 1 of that year.

Now, as he is 38, he can look back on a long, lucrative, highly successful career as a Major League pitcher. His resume includes five teams and 13 years in the big leagues. He was an All-Star and the Comeback Player of the Year.

More than anything else, he was a World Series champion, with the Kansas City Royals in 2015. In fact, he was a major reason why the Royals won that World Series, with an incredible hitless, four-strikeout performance over the final three innings as the Royals won Game 1 in 14 innings.

Young was released by the Royals this past week. It's possible his baseball career is over. If it is, he can look back on it knowing that there wasn't much else that he could have done on the field.

The day after the Royals won the World Series, TigerBlog texted Young that he was hoping to get a chance to speak with him for an entry here at some point in the near future. He called back in less than an hour. That's just how he is.

What would be next for him?

TigerBlog thinks he would great at pretty much anything he wanted to try. Here's a guy who finished his senior thesis while riding on buses on minor league trips to graduate with his class.

TigerBlog was the men's basketball contact during Young's two seasons with the Tigers. It was obvious from the first day TB met him that there was something really special about him, and not just his size and athletic ability.

In an athletic program that regularly churns out impressive young people, Chris Young is right at the top of the list of anyone TB has seen come through here. And he's not the only one who thinks that way.

He's seen it for a long time, anytime anyone has dealt with him.

When you meet Chris Young, you can't help but be amazed.

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